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Cal Worthington, Famed Car Salesman, Dies at 92

By Willian Avila
|  Tuesday, Sep 10, 2013  |  Updated 11:25 AM EDT
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Cal Worthington, Famed Car Salesman, Dies at 92

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LONG BEACH, CA - 1976: Decorated World War 2 bomber pilot and famed car salesman Cal Worthington poses for a portrait with his 'dog Spot' in 1976 in Long Beach, California. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

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Cal Worthington, the famed car salesman who appeared in TV commercials urging viewers to "Go see Cal," has died at 92.

Worthington, a decorated World War II bomber pilot who went on to build a car sales empire that grew to about two dozen dealerships in five states, was widely known for his wacky commericals featuring his "dog" Spot. His trademark ads, a fixture on the West Coast airwaves, starred Worthington and a rotating cast of exotic animals, including an elephant, a tiger and a killer whale, standing in for an actual dog.

Worthington died Sunday after watching football with his family in his home in Orland, a small town about 100 miles north of Sacramento, Worthington's lawyers said. No cause of death was released.

The Oklahoma native left his home to join the war, eventually flying 29 missions over Europe and serving as lead pilot over some of the first American attacks on Berlin, according to a statement prepared with Worthington's family. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his heroism.

After the war, Worthington began selling used cars outside of a post office in Corpus Christi, Texas, according to The Sacramento Bee. He made his way to Los Angeles in the 1950s, where he opened a dealership and later made a fortune in car sales. At its peak in the 1980s, his company was reportedly bringing in $323 million in annual sales.

He is survived by six children and nine grandchildren.

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